The Marvel Cinematic Universe is venturing into new territory. Many of us, myself included, were a little skeptical with how a Marvel Sci-Fi movie would play out. Comic fans are aware of who the Guardians of the Galaxy are but your average movie-goer might not be sure what to make of this.
Of course, all that sort of thinking is unnecessary. If you think about it, the different franchises within the Cinematic Universe have had different feels to them. Iron Man has dealt with the business/Stark Industry side, Thor has dealt with mythological gods and other realms, and Captain America has dealt with war and espionage. Of course The Avengers was pretty much pure superhero action, with a touch of sci-fi/alien invasions. Exploring the cosmic corner of the Cinematic Universe, we are introduced to a new set of heroes.
Unlike the other Marvel Studios films, Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't quite have the Avengers connection to tie it to the others. There is Thanos and the fact that his two "daughters" are in the movie. This might be enough for some. This is really a movie you can go into blindly, without having to worry how anyone is connected to one another. It's an origin story introducing us to characters many have never heard of.
The movie starts out with Peter Quill, Star-Lord. There's been slight variations to his origin in the comics (you can watch our video HERE on his history). We do see Peter on Earth as a child. I won't go into specifics, but there is an interesting twist on how he gets started on the path to becoming Star-Lord.
The movie jumps forward and soon we are introduced to all the different characters. This is a slight moment where the movie falters. Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, and Drax don't know each other (actually, Rocket and Groot do). What the movie has to do, at this point, is bring them all together and get them to bond as a team. Obviously, this does happen. It feels a little rushed. Soon, they are gathered as a team to take on Ronan and his evil forces.
For the most part, all the characters are portrayed just as you'd want them, if you're familiar with their comic book counterparts. Chris Pratt's Star-Lord might not the version we want, but he does have a charming charismatic approach with the expected Marvel Studios brand of humor thrown in. He may be a bit of a goof at times but when necessary, he steps up and handles the conflict admirably.
Rocket Raccoon and Groot are the stand out characters. They too have the charm and appeal general audiences will gobble up. At the same time, they can easily hold their own in the middle of a fight. There are humorous moments with them but it fits in with the whole vibe of the movie. It might seem like an odd choice to bring these characters to the big screen but audiences will love them.
Drax took a little to warm up to. Soon you'll find yourself appreciating his presence. Sadly, Gamora's portrayal felt a little weak. In the comics, she's the deadliest women in the universe. While she is tough as hell in this movie, she's far from the force of nature we've seen in the comics. Hopefully this is something we'll get to see more of in future appearances.
Ronan's portrayal was pretty flat. As the movie's main antagonist, it felt like he was almost bored at times. Sure, Ronan is a stoic and calm character. He just didn't quite have the menacing feel you would expect in a movie on this scale. The use of the Sakaarans felt reminiscent to the Chitauri in The Avengers. They're largely here as cannon fodder.
The visuals are top notch. When we're talking about battles in space or over alien worlds, poor visuals will stand out and pull viewers out of the story. The different worlds and alien species we see look great. You truly get a sense for the size and scale of the cosmic Cinematic Universe. You'll get excited with each new location you see.
There is a pretty liberal use of licensed music throughout the movie. It's part of who Star-Lord's character is but it really makes the movie stand out from other Marvel Studios films. While I enjoyed the music (I did buy the soundtrack), it almost felt like too much was used. On the other hand, it does help to give the movie a different feel from the others and also provides a slight anchor to Earth.
When the first clips were released for Guardians of the Galaxy, many feared this would be too much of a comedy to fit in with the other Marvel Studios films. There is a healthy dose of humor but what else would you expect from a movie with a talking raccoon and tree-like creature? This is the sort of movie you go to when you're looking for a good time. The pacing might be off and some of the characters might not feel right, but it's a great start to a new franchise for Marvel. It's no wonder they've already announced a sequel and animated series. There is a lot of potential with the Guardians. We have another area of the Cinematic Universe to explore and that means we'll get more movies that don't feel redundant to similar to the Avengers-related movies. This is a movie I will definitely see more than once in theaters.